Microsoft Opens HoloLens Platform to Partners

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Microsoft today opened its Windows Holographic platform to hardware developers creating virtual and augmented reality devices.

Using the same software that powers Microsoft HoloLens, Windows 10 partners can build their own mixed-reality worlds for consumers to work, communicate, learn, and play. Windows Holographic will be available for "devices of all shapes and sizes," according to Microsoft, which invited hardware partners to build PCs, displays, accessories, and mixed reality devices with the Windows Holographic platform.

"With Windows 10, we've been on an incredible journey with our partners, and today we usher in the next frontier of computing—mixed reality," Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft Windows and Devices, said in a statement.

"Imagine wearing a VR device and seeing your physical hands as you manipulate an object, working on the scanned 3D image of a real object, or bringing in a holographic representation of another person into your virtual world so you can collaborate," he wrote.

Redmond is already working with partners like Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, HTC, Acer, Asus, CyberPowerPC, Dell, Falcon Northwest, HP, iBuyPower, Lenovo, and MSI, but "we are looking forward to opening up Windows Holographic to the partner ecosystem for the future," Myerson said.

Windows Holographic includes "a holographic shell and interaction model, perception APIs, and Xbox Live services." Interested partners can learn more on Microsoft's developer site.

Redmond in March began shipping its HoloLens 3D augmented reality headset to developers. Unlike VR gadgets, the untethered HoloLens doesn't take over your entire field of vision; it adds 3D objects to the actual world in front of you.

Two months later, the second wave of devices is on its way to applicants, and Microsoft is pushing its first major software update for Windows Holographic. Technical fellow Alex Kipman revealed some highlights in a blog post, including multi-tasking, new voice commands, and support for the Edge Web browser. He also tipped more options for the Photos app, and the ability to connect a regular Bluetooth mouse to the HoloLens.

"This is just the beginning," Kipman wrote, pointing folks toward the company's full list of "things we've been working on to make HoloLens even better for you."

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